WAMS was established in 1829 by Ichabod Washburn, the Congregational Church deacon, industrialist and philanthropist who was also a founder of Memorial Hospital, Mechanics Hall, and WPI. (Follow this Link for More information on WAMS’ History).
A proven advocate for comprehensive and integrated approaches to social problem solving including the renewal of inner city neighborhoods, today’s WAMS works with civic, public and private partners to raise and support civic and social awareness and to create program vehicles aimed at helping our community and the people who live here, overcome complex and interrelated personal and social challenges.
From developing the first Habitat for Humanity and AIDS housing programs in Massachusetts to championing the ‘housing first’ model and leading the regional effort to preserve Chapter 40B, WAMS has been a longtime leader and community partner in the effort to create stable and affordable housing for low-income residents.
As cities like Worcester attract public investment aimed at knowledge-based workers / more affluent urbanites, WAMS’ efforts also encompass a renewed commitment to finding credible strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic mobility for families and individuals. Key efforts to ensure that all who live here are positioned to contribute to and benefit from our community’s progress include: 1)The Summer CUBS (Comprehension and Understanding Bring Success) Program; and 2) The WAMS Conference Event Series.
WAMS is also committed to fostering social awareness and engagement among youth and all who lead them. Together with Worcester Fellowship, WAMS sponsors ReachOut Worcester, an 18 hour overnight immersion program that explores individual homelessness. In collaboration with Matthew25 and Habitat for Humanity, among others, WAMS sponsors Learn&Serve Worcester, a collection of opportunities for Worcester area youth and their leaders to make a hands-on difference in the lives of low-income and/or underserved children and families.
For more information on Who We Are, please see the remarks made by our former Minister and President, Bob Bachelder in 2016 as he accepted the Master Mechanic Award on behalf of WAMS. At that time WAMS became the first religious or social welfare organization selected by the trustees of Mechanics Hall to receive this award. The Master Mechanic Award honors individuals and organizations that are creating a culture of excellence and growth in Central Massachusetts.